It was no secret between Shane Greene and his coaches that his confidence level was affecting his game and mound presence after two rough starts in May, including a disastrous one against Jupiter where he surrendered nine hits in less than three innings. As a result, he was sent down to Extended with the hopes of achieving necessary improvement.
"They sent me over there to try to get my confidence back," Greene said. "I was kind of digging myself into a hole."
Pitching coach Jeff Ware also agrees confidence was Greene's biggest hindrance.
"He's got great stuff," Ware said. "He didn't have a lot of confidence so he was trying to overthrow a lot of pitches, which caused his delivery to kind of get out of whack."
Tampa Yankees manager Luis Sojo thinks one of Greene's biggest issues was falling behind hitters too often.
"He was behind the hitters all the time," Sojo said. "They sent him over there [to Extended] to work on that."
One of the benefits of being sent down to Extended, for Greene, was that his numbers wouldn't count. He would be able to focus on his game without having to worry about the outcome or statistics.
Since returning from Extended, Greene has shown great improvement, and he feels more confident about his performance.
On June 9th, Greene has his first at-home start in over a month and he pitched a perfect six innings just before he reached his pitch limit for the game. It proved to be one of his best games yet.
"I was throwing a lot of strikes, working both sides of the plate," Greene said. "I was just really attacking hitters and making them swing at my pitches rather than theirs. It really just panned out for me."
"He made very few mistakes," Ware said about Greene's performance against Daytona. "He was able to go inside to both lefties and righties to open up that outside part of the plate. His slider was a swing-and-miss type pitch where he'd get strikeouts with it."
The results of Greene's hard work down in Extended have been easy for everyone to see upon his return.
"He got some more depth on his slider," Ware said. "[Extended] basically cleaned up his delivery and built his confidence back up, and it has shown since he has been here in his last couple of starts. He's able to use his fastball to both sides of the plate."
Sojo agrees with the improvements that Greene has made since his return.
"He came back strong," Sojo said. "So far, so good. I hope he continues to do that. He has a great mound presence."
Though his confidence is back, Greene still has areas within his game that he needs to work on.
"His fastball works at the lower levels, and now the hitters are getting a little bit more advanced," Ware said. "He's got to have some better command with his pitches. The biggest thing is to be consistent."
Sojo also believes Greene has more to do.
"He's got to continue to work in all aspects of the game—command, poise, mound presence—a little bit of everything." Sojo said. "He can't stop working. If he continues to do that, he's going to be okay down the road."
Greene knows his game is a work in progress, but he is pleased with how far he has come and he believes he now knows what it takes to have an edge while on the mound.
"It's baby steps," Greene said. "I've still got a long way to go, but the confidence is huge right now. As long as I have confidence in the pitch I'm throwing, whether I pinpoint exactly where I'm throwing it or not, I think hitters can see that up there and it's almost like an intimidation factor."
For Greene, keeping his confidence level up is completely mental.
"When you're out there between the lines you've got to believe you're better than the guy that's in the box whether you are or not," Greene said. "As long as you believe it, that's all that really matters. Hitters can read that. When you're out there and you're walking around with your head down, hitters feed off of that."
Keeping his head up while on the mound is what Greene feels is important.
Greene Gaining Confidence
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